Restaurateurs: Is Your Restaurant Getting You Down?

“The restaurant business is one of the hardest jobs…the early-morning-to-late-night days have taken a toll — along with my sleepless nights and grueling hours.”

Sound like you at your worst moment?

Those are the words of Marian Harper — owner of the legendary Carnegie Deli on Seventh Avenue in New York — during her announcement about closing the iconic Jewish deli at the end of 2016.

According to a New York Times article, “At Carnegie Deli in Manhattan, Just 3 Months of Pastramis to Go,” she told employees “she could no longer bear the stressful challenges of restaurant life.”

As an observer of the human condition, I smiled, when I read that, reflecting that — on the same day — I had met an owner of a multi-unit restaurant group here in Dallas who told me he loved growing his business, but every day in the restaurants was an “$%&* kicking.”

The Time to Change is Now

I loved the Carnegie and the New York deli tradition. It is sad to me that a problem that could be fixed was causing an 80-year-old icon to close.

If Ms. Harper had more than three months, and had not already made this announcement, I knew I could help her and ensure her restaurant could operate without being a burden on ownership.

My life’s work is devoted to improving the businesses and lives of the owners of successful multi-unit independent restaurant companies.

I know that — when someone feels their business is a daily “$%&* kicking” — that means it is not arranged properly.

There is an opportunity to educate the current people or bring others on board and use established techniques and systems to do the heavy lifting.

All Signs Point to Opportunities for Growth

There is no point in owning an independent restaurant company if it is not a joyful experience.

Life is truly too short.

For the successful restaurateurs I work with, almost every day is a good day, an exciting day, a day where progress is being made and success is increasing.

The days that are exceptions are simply indicators that there is an opportunity to make improvements and do things differently.

So what is your Marian Harper moment? What is happening on the days you feel your business is just an “$%&* kicking”? Here is what you can be doing about that:

Four Steps to Alleviating Aggravation

  1. Reflect on the first challenge that came to mind when you read Marian Harper’s comments above.
  2. Identify the root cause of this aggravation, systemic breakdown, or disappointment.
  3. Develop an action plan to address the issue.
  4. Assign it to someone inside or outside your organization — along with a timeline for results that will foster accountability.